by Lisa Broekhuizen (the Netherlands)
People recreating in nature can damage the area. This damage can be prevented by management, such as closing off paths or providing information on points of interest. Although these management options are widely accepted, the effect of using them is largely unknown. To investigate movement patterns and the effect of management on movement patterns, agent based modelling can be used. This study provides a case study on the Hoge Veluwe, a National Park in the Netherlands. Participants of this study were tracked using GPS-trackers. Based on literature an agent-based model was created in Netlogo to simulate movement patterns of participants. The model was used to asses management options. The created model could well be calibrated to the data. The order of magnitude was similar as in the measured data and the same trends were visible. The model was most strongly influenced by the number of people in the area, the points of interest and the distance covered by one person. The effect of closing off paths was present closely behind the area of the closed path and diminished over distance. Proving information on a new point of interest had little effect, both in the field study and in the model. Existing points of interest had a strong effect. Even with a small sample size the model simulates the same order of magnitude and the same trends as the field data. This is important when assessing and predicting the effect of management. Agent based modelling can provide an useful, non-destructive tool for planning and assessing management.